140 Years of Firsts: Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

 Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

As Breitling celebrates a landmark year, it’s honoring the incredible firsts that have defined the brand.

Today, it marks the 25th anniversary of the first nonstop balloon flight around the world with the release of the Aerospace B70 Orbiter. Each unique watch contains a piece of the history- making balloon. Founded in 1884, Breitling is celebrating its 140th anniversary. Throughout the year, the brand will mark the occasion with stories of its incredible firsts, from breakthroughs in timekeeping for air, land, and sea, to milestones in sustainability.

It will also be a year chock full of events, exhibits, and special launches. And today, Breitling kicks off the festivities with a watch recognizing one of those momentous firsts: the Breitling Orbiter 3’s first nonstop balloon flight around the world. Celebrating this landmark on its 25th anniversary, Breitling, the sponsor of the groundbreaking voyage, unveils the Aerospace B70 Orbiter. The timepiece is a tribute to an adventure that expanded the horizons of human achievement—and, best of all, each watch contains a piece of the original balloon.

“Since the birth of aviation, Breitling has been there for all those who looked to the sky and dared to dream,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern. “As we honor the pioneering spirit of the Orbiter 3 mission, we reaffirm our commitment to being at the forefront of aviation’s future. The skies have no limit, and neither do we.”

ΤHE BREITLING ORBITER 3

On March 21, 1999, balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones completed a daring voyage, landing the Breitling Orbiter 3 in the Egyptian desert. They shattered records and defied expectations, becoming the first to circumnavigate the globe nonstop in a balloon. It was considered the final great flight challenge of the 20th century. In total, 11 teams of prominent personalities made 21 attempts. Bertrand Piccard himself tried twice in 1997 and 1998 before succeeding on the third attempt with Brian Jones. The balloonists touched down in Egypt after traveling 45,633 km in 19 days, 21 hours, and 47 minutes, achieving the longest flight, both for distance and duration.

Breitling’s aviation heritage goes back to the 1930s, when its Huit Aviation division developed precision cockpit instruments and pilots’ chronographs for military aviators. With the rise of airlines, the brand went on to become “the official supplier to world aviation” with its Navitimer chronograph, equipped with a computational slide rule, ideal for commercial air crews. Today, Breitling’s Professional line of digital-analog aviation watches are built to serve pilots in the most extreme conditions. “Twenty-five years is a generation, but those 20 days were so intense, I remember every aspect of the flight like it was yesterday,” says Bertrand Piccard, who has worn a series of Breitling Professional watches on his missions, including the distress-beacon-equipped Emergency and multifunctional Aerospace. “It was not only about flying around the world; it was about showing that we can achieve much more than we think. Now, as then, we need to be able to dream big. To get out of our comfort zone. To be disruptive. When you apply this thinking to any topic, you can change the world.”

A LIVING PIECE OF HISTORY

The Aerospace B70 Orbiter 25th anniversary edition - with its bright-orange dial the color of the Orbiter 3 capsule - contains its very own piece of history: a segment of the original Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon visible through the transparent caseback. The caseback also features the Breitling Orbiter 3 mission logo around its perimeter and the inscription «First non-stop flight around the world 25th anniversary».

 

 

Presented on a titanium bracelet or a black rubber strap with a folding clasp, the watch features the Breitling Orbiter 3 mission logo on the dial at 3 o’clock. Its numerals, indexes, and hands are coated with luminescent Super-LumiNova®, making them legible even in low light. Both the case and optional bracelet have been crafted in titanium, a robust material with the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. It’s also nonmagnetic, hypoallergenic, and highly resistant to corrosion, guaranteeing its wearers a strong, safe, and comfortable watch that will support them - even on the toughest missions.

The watch is powered by the newly designed COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Caliber B70: a thermo-compensated Superquartz™ analog and digital display movement that delivers 10 times the accuracy of a standard quartz watch. This engine powers the watch’s array of functions, including a 1/100th of a second chronograph (with split-time and flyback functions), countdown timer, second timezone, two alarms, lap function, and perpetual calendar.
The Aerospace B70 Orbiter launches March 21, 2024 - exactly 25 years to the day that the Breitling Orbiter 3 made its historic landing.

BREITLING

Founded in 1884, Breitling is a leading Swiss watchmaker. The innovative company invented the modern chronograph and pioneered the navigational tool watch. Today, it is still breaking new ground as a casual, inclusive, and sustainable luxury brand with more than 260 industrial- loft-inspired retail locations around the world. Breitling’s collections center around air, land, and sea pursuits, all captured in the brand’s unmistakable modern-retro style. The exceptional quality of every watch movement is confirmed by its status as a COSC-certified chronometer, and the brand remains one of only a handful of independent watchmakers to produce its own manufacture calibers. Today, Breitling is on a mission to do better, by creating beautiful products and experiences with better materials, better manufacturing, better packaging, and end-to-end traceability. Combining classic watchmaking with the latest and most sustainable innovations, Breitling is both a company with history and one that is ahead of its time.

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